What winter damage is usually covered and what is not covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy?

damaged roofWind damage

  • If rain or snow enters your home or business through the area caused by the WIND DAMAGE, you are most likely COVERED.
  • For example: if a tree breaks through your roof, and rain destroys your bedroom, the roof and interior damage are usually covered if you have an HO-3 or what’s called an “All Risk” policy (that’s a little misleading, since floods are not covered).
  • If you have an HO-2 policy there may be an exclusion that says, “Unless the wind first creates an opening in the roof or siding, the resultant interior damage is excluded.”

Weight of ice/snow

  • This has become an important issue, especially in the Northeastern United States. Therefore, damage caused by WEIGHT OF ICE/SNOW is COVERED under most policies.

Ice Damming

  • It is important to know what that is: An ice dam is a build-up of frozen snow on the roofs of homes and buildings which causes a dam effect. Water damage occurs to the building and contents when it starts to melt and the water leaks through the roof into the building.
  • If you have an “All Risk” policy (HO-3), you are COVERED. (If you don’t know if you have one, call me and I will review your policy)
  • Damage to the contents due to Ice Damming is NOT COVERED.

Broken/burst pipe

  • If the loss is considered “sudden and accidental,” such as a water pipe that suddenly breaks because it was frozen you are COVERED.
  • You are NOT COVERED if the damage occurs over a period of weeks or months due to corrosion or deterioration of a water pipe. This type of damage could have been prevented.

Water in the basement

  • There are “Endorsements” to your insurance policy to cover such things as a Sump Pump or Sewer/Drain Back-up. If you are concerned, you can get COVERED.
  • One of the most common problems for a wet basement is: GROUNDWATER. It is characterized as water that simply touches the ground. Once it touches the ground it then finds a way into your home, whether through the masonry walls or from water that enters your basement by a process called hydrostatic pressure. Basically the ground becomes saturated with water; the water rises and slowly enters through cracks in the concrete floor. In most policies, you are NOT COVERED for “groundwater.”

If and when you do have a claim, please read my advice on how and when to file a claim with your insurance company.

Good luck this winter season!

I am an advocate for my clients. Call if you have:

  • Any questions about your insurance policy and want an unbiased view
  • Any questions about a claim (whether settled or not)
  • Advice for reporting a claim (call me first)

Warm regards for a “hassle free” winter,

Mike Bruckner, Independent Insurance Adjuster for over 30 years
Email: Mike@ proadjust.com